It’s easier to write about struggles after they have happened. We look back and the lessons God was trying to teach us seem obvious (although I wonder if perhaps we are wrong about those sometimes.)
When you’re in the middle of horrible situations… how do you write? How can you speak? When someone asks you, “How’s stuff with God?” and you just shrug?
In some ways, I’ve been learning leaps and bounds about myself. Having a job that I love has been giving me confidence and is teaching me all the ways in which I am powerful (and many in which I am weak.) I started off pretty strong, but then the fall/winter time hits… and life is always harder for me starting in October. This year is no different. My past haunts me, and my future eludes me. I have no idea what’s next. It’s difficult to focus on where you are when your heart is not satisfied.
While I can plan for long-term, I have a hard time thinking through it. I have always had hope that things will be better, but I do not know what better looks like. I’ve never planned a wedding out in my head. I don’t know what traditions I’ll have with my future children, whose names I’m unsure of, and whose father I’m even more unsure of anything about. I can’t imagine the healing that will be happening in my life during that season. I can’t imagine the pain.
I’ve always believed in some type of fairness. Even if I didn’t think something was fair, I would act like it should be… as if the world was just. “But that’s not fair!” is the mantra or anyone who grew up with one sibling… in a world where things could be fair if you fought hard enough and where fairness was all that you could try to make sense of. Now? I don’t think I believe in fairness. I’ve seen too much. I’ve seen too many people in pain when they ought to have good. I’ve seen bad people live very happy lives. I do not believe that the answer falls in “His ways are higher than our ways” in the sense of God bringing justice in the ways we think He ought to. I also don’t see that line as an excuse to not believe in and fight for justice.
As a teenager, I was hopeful for a fair God. And perhaps He is – since He says He is. But His world is unfair and unjust. His people are unfair and unjust. The fruits of our labor are unfair and unjust. There is no kindness from this earth. That being said… there is kindness in people. In the forgiveness of the people you have hurt. In the acts of love by old friends. There is beauty in the earth. There is peace at the sound of His creation. There is a way to get by even when everything else hurts. But it does not make up for the bad. It does not make the evil go away. It just exists next to it, and we choose to engage in different parts… and sometimes the different parts choose to engage us. We do not always choose evil when evil chooses us. We do not always choose good when good chooses us.
When I was 19, I took the StrengthsFinder. My top strength was “connectedness”… they describe it as “People strong in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.”
I used to believe this with all my heart. “Everything happens for a reason” was my motto. I do not believe I would have this strength anymore… or it would at least not be my number one. While I still believe in links and not so much in coincidences… I do not believe all things happen for a reason. I just believe things happen. Life’s a poker game, and sometimes you get a crappy hand. Sometimes you lose it all, but you keep playing for the addiction to the game. Other times you pull out of the game early, afraid to lose what you have. We make our own choices. There’s no excuses for our actions.
(On that note: I am now bitter when people tell me that my life was destroyed in order to make me stronger, to make me better. That I should forgive the one(s) who intentionally destroyed me because their actions helped me become who I am. I think that’s… crap. Someone chose to destroy me, and he knew what he was doing. Nothing will ever make that OK. Nothing will never lead me to believe that it “happened for a reason.” It happened because the person who chose to do that decided to make a choice that would ruin my life. I believe that God creates good out of evil situations only because He has grace. And now I have seen people die. There are people with the audacity to say that those deaths happen for a reason. “To teach the rest of us something.” No. Those people died. There is no reason for it. There is no sense in it. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. There’s nothing that can come out of this situation that can make it justifiable. Do I believe lessons can be learned, and that God can create comfort or good in those situations? Yes. Do I believe that makes it worth it? Or that was why it happened? No. I don’t. Not anymore.)
When a huge game changer for your faith explodes, it shakes you. Someone I know died almost two years ago, and it’s wrecked my faith in a world that makes sense. I’ve seen others suffer and I am beginning to understand that what is happening to them is more than just a season of life. I’ve seen my own life. I’ve seen the terrible hands of poker given to people who deserve so much better. I’ve seen lives that won’t change. Ever. People with no hope. People with hope, but no will to change things. I can’t sit here and tell you that love solves everything. I know from my knowledge that God is greater than our problems, but I’ve been having a hard time seeing how.
I’m just having a hard time seeing anything.
I wish I could wrap this up for all of you. I wish I was past this storm. Yet I remain inside of it, sure only that I am unsure. The only comfort I have is knowing that this is biblical, in some way. I’m not the only person to have ever felt the way I do. So I need to end it just like this:
I have no idea what’s next for me. And I don’t even know how I feel about that.